United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Richard Mark Gergel, United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
of the Magistrate Judge, recommending that Defendant's
motion for summary judgment be granted. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation.
Eric Jones has been a prisoner of the South Carolina
Department of Corrections ("SCDC") since 1983, He
is housed at the McCormick Correctional Institution. Mr.
Jones, proceeding pro se, brings this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendant J.
McRee, a physician employed by the SCDC, was deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs, in violation of the
Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. In
January 2014, Mr. Jones reported a skin rash to prison
authorities. Dr. McRee ordered a course of treatment,
including medications. Those treatments were ineffective, so,
on August 13, 2014, Mr. Jones was transported to MUSC to see
a dermatologist, who diagnosed his rash as dermatitis. Dr.
McRee continued to provide various medications to treat Mr.
Jones, allegedly to no avail. On December 4, 2015, Dr. McRee
noted that the treatments were ineffective and made another
referral to a MUSC dermatologist. On February 17, 2016, Mr.
Jones saw the MUSC dermatologist, who diagnosed Mr. Jones as
having a topic dermatitis (also known as eczema), a chronic
condition with a waxing and waning course. Mr. Jones has not
experienced any life threatening medical problems, nor has he
required any urgent or emergency medical treatment.
Jones filed this action on August 19, 2015. On June 4, 2016,
Defendant moved for summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 36.) On
August 11, 2016, the Magistrate Judge recommended granting
the motion summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 43.) Mr. Jones filed
timely objections to the Report and Recommendation on August
Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the
responsibility to make a final determination remains with the
Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The
Court is charged with making a de novo determination
of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which
specific objection is made. The Court may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the
Magistrate Judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
proper objection is made to a particular issue, "a
district court is required to consider all arguments directed
to that issue, regardless of whether they were raised before
the magistrate." United States v. George, 971
F.2d 1113, 1118 (4th Cir. 1992). However, "[t]he
district court's decision whether to consider additional
evidence is committed to its discretion, and any refusal will
be reviewed for abuse." Doe v. Chao, 306 F.3d
170, 183 & n.9 (4th Cir. 2002). "[A]ttempts to
introduce new evidence after the magistrate judge has acted
are disfavored, " though the district court may allow it
"when a party offers sufficient reasons for so
doing." Caldwell v. Jackson, 831 F.Supp.2d 911,
914 (M.D. N.C. 2010) (listing cases).
judgment is appropriate if a party "shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and that the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In other words, summary judgment should
be granted "only when it is clear that there is no
dispute concerning either the facts of the controversy or the
inferences to be drawn from those facts." Pulliam
Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir.
1987). "In determining whether a genuine issue has been
raised, the court must construe all inferences and
ambiguities in favor of the non moving party."
Health South Rehab. Hosp. v. Am. Nat'l Red
Cross, 101 F.3d 1005, 1008 (4th Cir, 1996). The party
seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of
demonstrating to the court that there is no genuine issue of
material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
the moving party has made this threshold demonstration, the
non-moving party, to survive the motion for summary judgment,
may not rest on the allegations averred in his pleadings.
Id. at 324. Rather, the non-moving party must
demonstrate that specific, material facts exist that give
rise to a genuine issue. Id. Under this standard,
"[c]onclusory or speculative allegations do not suffice,
nor does a 'mere scintilla of evidence'" in
support of the non-moving party's case. Thompson v.
Potomac Elec. Power Co., 312 F.3d 645, 649 (4th Cir.
2002) (quoting Phillips v. CSX Tramp, Inc., 190 F.3d
285, 287 (4th Cir. 1999)).
alleges Dr. McRee was deliberately indifferent to his serious
medical needs. Deliberate indifference to an inmate's
serious medical needs constitutes cruel and unusual
punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Estelle v.
Gamble,429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976). "A deliberate
indifference claim consists of two components, objective and
subjective. Objectively, the inmate's medical condition
must be serious-one that has been diagnosed by a physician as
mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay
person would easily recognize the necessity for a
doctor's attention." Jackson v. Lightsey,775 F.3d 170, 178 (4th Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks
omitted). Subjectively, the defendant must "know of
and disregard an excessive risk to inmate health or
safety." Id. (internal quotation marks
omitted). "That is a higher standard for culpability
than mere negligence or even civil recklessness, and as a
consequence, many acts or omissions that would constitute
medical malpractice will not rise to the level of deliberate
indifference." Id. "To show an Eighth